KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Familiar foes clash in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup when the Houston Dynamo visit Children’s Mercy Park to take on Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday in the Round of 16.
The clubs have faced several times in elimination games in all competitions, but in the Open Cup, this will mark the sixth time the clubs will go head-to-head.
Sporting KC defeated the Dynamo en route to hoisting the 2015 and 2017 championship trophies.
In their past five tournament matchups, the series is a deadlock: 2W-2L-1D.
The Dynamo visited Kansas City early in the regular season with the home team coming out victorious 1-0.
Not only do the clubs know each other well, but the Houston Dynamo staff have a history in Sporting Blue.
Dynamo head coach Paulo Nagamura and assistant coach Jimmy Nielsen will return to the sideline in Kansas City, having spent successful spells as players under Sporting head coach Peter Vermes.
Nagamura and Nielsen were members of the 2013 MLS Cup championship squad that defeated Real Salt Lake in an epic 10-kick penalty shootout.
Both added a U.S. Open Cup championship to their resumes during their tenure in Kansas City.
The pair of Houston coaches head into familiar territory inside a stadium they helped build in front of the Blue Hell that once cheered their names.
Children’s Mercy Park has become a fortress for big games thanks to the likes of Nagamura and Nielsen, among others.
The venue has hosted 19 U.S. Open Cup matches since opening in 2011, with the home team winning 13 of those games.
In the regular season, Sporting continues to find consistent form, earning their first win since March against the Colorado Rapids at home before drawing on the road with the San Jose Earthquakes.
Sporting KC beat FC Dallas in the round of 32 in a nail-biting 4-2 match that went into overtime after Marinos Tzionis scored his first club goal in the 98th minute of regulation to tie the score 2-2.
Houston advanced with a 1-0 victory over USL Championship side San Antonio.
The game kicks off at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday night with a spot in the quarterfinals on the line. The winner will face the winner of the Minnesota United and Union Omaha matchup.